02 Mar Building confidence through mentoring
In early 2016, IRF offered members of the Emerging Water Professionals Program the opportunity to apply for a mentoring program, linking early career professionals with more experienced professionals in the water sector. Aislinn Cabriole has shared what she has learned as a mentor so far….
About a year ago, I believe I was suffering from, what most millennials call, a quarter-life crisis. “What career path should I take?”, “Why does my job suck?”, “Should I quit my job again?”, or “What’s my purpose in life?”; these are just some of the questions I continuously asked myself. Then, I got acquainted with the International RiverFoundation’s Emerging Water Professionals Program. I had a lot of expectations with the program. I expected to gain technical skills, build a professional network, and have a new job by the end of the program. My definition of a mentor then was synonymous to a director. I was looking for someone to tell me what to do, what choice to make, or what path to take.
As mentoring progressed, my expectations did not exactly come to reality. But, I gained much more. Instead of just learning technical skills, I learned more about myself. I realised my strengths and weaknesses, learned how to be more assertive, and became more conscious of my actions. Now, I have the confidence to learn new technical skills by myself. Instead of just building a professional network, I feel empowered to build relations with my colleagues and superiors, and connect with other professionals. Now, I can communicate better with people in my professional and personal life. Instead of having a new job, I decided to stay with my current one and get the most of it. Now, I am happier with my job, not because it suddenly became better, but because I decided to make it better for me.
My expectations then were all what can this program do for me. Now, it changed to what can I do to attain my expectations. I’m not saying that the mentoring program is something magical that will make life be all rainbows, unicorns, and fairytale endings. What I learned from the program, and what I believe most young professionals need to know, is to have confidence in yourself. Now, my definition of a mentor is synonymous to a guide. A mentor will lead you to what he believes as the best option, but you will still be the one to tell yourself what to do, what choice to make, or what path to take.
Aislinn Cabriole is a member of the IRF Emerging Water Professionals Program.